Monday, January 26, 2015

Só na correria

So if a missionary ever tells you he had a dull week, they're probably lying.

The VW bug that we caught a ride home in
after the Zone Conference
Conferência Multi-Zona
I love being around our mission president and the other missionaries, I always leave councils and conferences excited and happy. We learned a ton about how we're going to use the members well to help follow up with investigators to help them progress. Elder Dallto and I were able to give a training as well about how to begin teaching people and we felt like it went really well. Afterwards we had to do a baptismal interview and we got a member to give us a ride to the area but he showed up in a tiny white VW bug (see foto) where we had to pack in four missionaries with boxes of Books and materials and packages. It was a blast.

Daniele's baptism
Daniele's baptism is really special because there were so many things that could have kept her from getting baptized. She had to travel to another city this week to help resolve family problems but she travelled back thursday for her baptismal interview. Her mom begged her to stay behind but she told her "No I need to be baptized!" It was cool. After her baptism our other recent converts invited her over to their house for a little celebration. It was cool to see a recent convert with only 4 weeks in the church already integrating other converts. 

Three of our recent converts after Daniele's Baptism

More Exchanges
I had another day this week where I stayed working in my area for the whole day with different members while my companion went with another member for interviews for the whole day to help a few areas baptize this weekend. It was cool because the member served in California so he wanted to practice his English and we shot the breeze in english. It was also great because we drove to our appointments with air conditioning which was GREAT. 

My companion passed out last p-day trying to learn guitar

And that's another week in the books!

Boa Semana Pessoal!
Elder DP

Friday, January 23, 2015

Big Week

This transfer has been CRAZY!! My companion is one of the most excited missionaries I've served with so far and so we are always doing crazy stuff to work in our area and help the rest of our Zone at the same time. This week we had two exchanges with other companionships and one exchange with members for my companion to leave the area and do interviews. We also had a ton of help from members to be able to bring lots of people to church on Sunday.

Maria de Jesus (that's her name)
This week our baptismal service was really special. I attached pictures so that you could all see her. She was being shy but in the picture when it was just her I managed to get a little smile out of her (Good thing I learned from the best, i.e. Gandpa Thompson). Maria is 79 years old and we found her knocking doors. Saturday morning we stopped by Maria's home to confirm that everything was all set for her baptism. When we stopped by she wasn't home so we went back that afternoon and she was home. When we asked her why she wasn't home that morning she said that she had gone to buy a white towel for her baptism the next day. We were worried she wasn't going to be able to bend well to be baptized so we left the font very full and had her sit in a chair and my companion, the bishop and I put the team effort together for her to be able to be baptized. It was really special. 

Other happenings:
 - We hugged a drunk guy that inturrupted us in the middle of our contact. And he stayed talking to the guy we had talked to pointing at us and saying "Imagine two of the best guys in the whole world, it's THOSE guys." Just because we hugged him. My companion shot him down whe
n he wanted a second hug.
 - We cooked for ourselves for lunch on Sunday because bishop's roof fell on his kitchen. 
 - I got to do one of the coolest baptismal interviews of my mission with a man that before he met the missionaries hung out with the drunks in the town square but now is clean cut, going to church and is alcohol and tobacco free because of the missionaries bringing him the Gospel.
 - There's a family we're teaching that wasn't awake when we stopped to bring them to church but once we woke them up got right up, got ready and went to church!! It was even better because the husband didn't want to go to church when we talked to him earlier in the week but he ended up going!!

As always a great week from Brazil! Hope you all have a great week!
Elder DP

Monday, January 12, 2015

New Year, New Work

This week was crazy. Between exchanges and baptismal interviews I spent very little time working in my own area. So the 

The Ward keeps working
Last week I mentioned a mother and son that were baptized and how the ward is integrating them. It was cool Saturday after the son's baptism that he went out with a group of members to eat Esfihas and socialize. They invited us to go as well but because of the time we couldn't stay out that late. It all worked out in the end though because they came by and dropped off some at our house for us as well. The members also received our other investigators really well when they went to church for the first time this sunday.

Raising the Bar
So our President gave us a challenge with the new year to have a high number of baptismal dates marked this week as a mission. He had us all at the leadership counsel the week before decide on a challenging goal per companionship and then had us as leaders each shake his hand to say that we would do everything possible so that all the missionaries in our zones or districts would accomplish the goal. It made the week turn into craziness because on tuesday and wednesday I went to other areas on exchange to help those missionaries mark lots of baptismal dates and do interviews for their investigators. Then on Thursday my companion stayed in our area working with some Returned Missionaries on exchange while I went to another city on exchange with another member that is preparing for his mission to do baptismal interviews for the sisters in our zone. Through all this craziness and more baptismal interviews on Saturday every companionship in our zone was able to clear the goal for baptismal dates and there were quite a few baptisms as well!! It was super cool to see the excitment that our zone had as we went out and were able to raise the bar because of high goals. 

Hope you all have high goals as well this year. Do what you haven't done before.

If we set out to make a paper airplane, we can it with your own capacity,
If we set out to build a great ship, we'll have to trust the Lord like Nefi.
It all depends on what we DESIRE

Have a great week!!
Elder DP

Monday, January 5, 2015

...and a happy new year!

Well if there's one thing that Brazilians like it's an excuse to throw a big party. 

New year's eve was a riot. We went to bed on time and I managed to fall asleep even with the music and some scattered fireworks. My rest was intorrupted after a short hour and a half when midnight comenced a series of fireworks throughout the city. Since we couldn't sleep to well anyways we poked our heads out the door and watched from in front of our house as several neighbors in our street shot off fireworks and in other nearby neighborhoods we could see big rockets going off. It was quite the sight.

The Ward Works
I'm serving now in a ward that is doing a GREAT job in missionary work. A mother and son that we're teaching are being baptized (one this week and the other last week) and the ward is welcoming them very well. We brought members to their house this week before the mom's baptism and this week they took charge. At church on sunday we went up to one family to see if they could do a family home evening to meet this family which they were glad to do. Another ward member overheard the idea and said "Hey elders, wednesday night is at my house" after which a few other members coordinated to have pizza with the recent convert on thursday. It was such a relief to have a ward that not only did we not have to PLEAD for them to help but actually JUMPED on the chance by their own to integrate the new members.

The Zone Works
We have excelent missionaries in our Zone. We had several miracles that happened this week when we went to do baptismal interviews and when we got their took the chance to interview other people who before weren't going to be baptized that weekend and after being interviewed decided to be baptized that very weekend, some even that very day!! There was another instance of a woman that had already been taught but then avoided the missionaries for a time and then showed up on her own at church wanting to be baptized. She was interviewed during sunday school and after the meetings was baptized! It was cool to see how we were blessed

The Freezer Doesn't work
So we have been sort of negligent in terms of taking care of our freezer in the fridge. It started to get some ice buildup and once it started to remind us of something out of the movie Titantic we finally got around to cleaning it out haha #missionarylife

Chase after your dreams this new year!!
Até mais,

Elder Della-Piana
Low wires mentioned in a previous post

Feliz Natal!!

Merry Christmas! 

It was a great week and as you might guess the highlight of my week was talking to the family on Skype. It was a strange experience to have a cook-out outside and walk in the hot sun on Christmas Day but it was still a good day. 

Christmas Goodies
Boy did we luck out this week!! Since Santa's reindeer can't stand the heat to make the rounds down to São Paulo the relief society put together a Christmas Basket for us!! We got a bunch of chocolate, panatone, assorted sweets, Ramen Noodles, etc. This ward knows how to make two happy missionaries.

Christmas Party
Tuesday was the São Paulo Norte Mission's annual Christmas Party. We had a secret friend gift swap (I think it's called a white elephant in english) and I went with some tourist merchandice and chocolate and left with a plastic pig bank with no hole in the top to put the money.... YET it was a super fun party. There was a spiritual part and a talent show as well which was pretty fun. I attached a picture of our zone with President Farnes and his family.

Christmas Miracle
On Christmas day we left the home from which we had called our families we went out to the street to try teaching some people, not knowing how effective it would be. As we were walking to the place we had planned my companion stopped and turned down a street we hadn't planned and said he had an idea. We changed our route and came to a house of somebody that had already been to church and whoever was home stayed in the house and asked who we were. As we explained and asked to come in she stayed out of sight and made some excuses but then we asked for water and she came out and then welcomed us in. We taught her and she accepted what we taught and talked about how much her son had liked his visit at the church a few weeks ago. She came to church this sunday and is now preparing with her son for their baptism!
Have a great week everybody!

Feliz Natal e um bom Ano Novo!!
Elder DP

PS Pictures are from the mission party, my comp and I celebrating our present and a picture of what the City I'm in looks like from our area.

Ala Barcelona!

Well my first week in Barcelona was an interesting one. Between transfers and travels we only got to work for two days in our own area but we killed ourselves helping other missionaries and taking advantage of every moment we had in our own area. I think it was one of the most tiring weeks of my mission but it was also a good one. My companion is from Manaus, Brazil and is awesome. He has a strong accent and uses lots of slang from there and I even caught myself a few times starting to use his slang. It's good though, there are several missionaries in our zone that I've already served with so it's always fun to have friends in the same zone.

The Week in Pictures
- The picture of me and the big guy is me with my favorite member from Itu that helped us with EVERYTHING. He's a guy that seriously changed my life through the way I saw him serve and love other people. Ironically he was called as the Ward mission leader in my last sacrament meeting in Itu. 
- The picture with a group of people is me with some recent converts, investigators and some other families from the ward that got together for a fun family home evening on my last night in Itu which was fun. One member made Coxinhas which is an awesome food from here that I still need to learn how to make. 
- Other picture of me and my new companion was at a members house when he finished eating the rest of the salad with the giant fork that was used to serve....
- Finally there's the brazilian Santa that was in a truck dancing to some music while a bunch of families in a poor part of town waited in line to get christmas presents. 

This week we're excited for a fun week of Christmas. It doesn't feel like Christmas without snow but it's still fun. The festivities already started with a ward party this week which was awesome. Hope you all enjoy your Christmas in the many places that you are at!

Feliz Natal!

Elder Della-Piana